The Effect of including biospheric responses to CO₂ on the impact of land-cover change over Australia

Gemma T. Narisma, Andrew J. Pitman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and the resulting change in temperature affect vegetation physiologically and structurally. These physiological and structural changes are biospheric feedbacks that may enhance or moderate the impacts due to human-induced land-cover change. It is therefore potentially important to include these biospheric feedbacks in experiments that explore the impact of land-cover change on climate. In this paper, it is shown that the vegetation response to higher carbon dioxide concentrations and warmer temperatures moderates the impacts of historical human-induced land-cover change in Australia. The magnitude of these biospheric feedbacks is explored, and it is shown that including them in climate simulations results in smaller land-cover change impacts on latent heat flux (by about 10–20 W m⁻² ) and temperature (by about 0.3°C), irrespective of the direction of change caused initially by land-cover change. Further, the magnitude of the feedback on temperature is nonnegligible and can be comparable, at the regional scale, to temperature changes due to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. It is also shown that the biospheric feedback effects are not limited to areas of human-induced land-cover change. Higher simulated temperatures of about 0.05°–0.15°C were found in regions remote from areas of human-induced changes when these biospheric feedbacks are included. It is concluded therefore that it is necessary to take biospheric feedbacks into account in climate simulations. Excluding these feedbacks may incorrectly assess the impacts due to land-cover change.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-28
    Number of pages28
    JournalEarth Interactions
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


    • biospheric feedback
    • land-cover change
    • regional climate modeling


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